I conducted this study with my son who is a quarterback for an 11-U youth football team here in Texas. I am a quarterback coach by trade but also the father of a young QB and wanted to understand more about what’s actually going on during practice. I thought this insight from the data collected could be useful for other parents or coaches that have an interest in monitoring volume, arm health, and improvement.
Purpose: To conduct an in-season study that ran 2.5-months on an experienced (relative to age) 12-year-old quarterback using Motus QB sleeve. This would help us understand what volume of work we were getting from a regular youth football practice. Here is a link to the Motus website where you can purchase the sleeve or learn more about it. https://motusglobal.com/motusqb.html Essentially it is a tool that allows you to track a number of measurables that help breakdown the throw.
Athlete History: The athlete has been playing QB competitively for his 3rd year. He has been involved in a throwing sport for the past 5 years. We have been throwing the football on a semi-regular basis during the offseason. We have not monitored workouts in terms of volume or time, rather just get enough work to make some improvement while keeping the sessions fun. We generally play catch for periods of 20-30 minutes. in the past, we’ve played flag football during the spring for an 8 week season with only throwing during game day. In addition, he has attending approximately a total of 10 X 90 minuter youth quarterback workouts annually with other similar age QB’s.
The athlete was 5’1.5 and 95 lbs at the beginning of the season. He grew to 5’2 by the end and weighed 97 lbs. We did no additional physical training outside of football practice.
Details: Our QB is throwing a Wilson TDJ (junior size) football for the second consecutive season. He turned 12 in mid-October, he was 11 at the beginning of the season. We started this season of organized football practice on the begging of the last week of July. We had almost 5 weeks of throwing on average 3 times per week before putting on the Motus QB sleeve.
This screenshot is from August 24th, the second day wearing the sleeve. Max fingertip velocity was 38. Closely correlating with his max distance in the throw. 39/40 yards. Immediately we noticed a lack of throwing volume during football practice. We would average between 30 and 50 throws per practice when we first put the sleeve on. We quickly realized that wasn’t enough to sustain an acceptable level of improvement.
The Problem: Lack of throwing volume during football practice. Just based purely on my experience and research while training quarterbacks for the past 12 years, I knew that the number of reps needed increase in order to get the most out of our practice time. If we look at We would average between 30 and 50 throws per practice when we first put the sleeve on. That is just not enough, and that was including warmups. We quickly changed that trend.
The Solution: With an understanding of how youth practices can go, we formulated a plan based on what we thought was a doable number of throws that would help improve, but not overwork the arm. Our new practice goal was to reach 100 throws per practice. Three practices per week would give us 300 throws per week without games included. We started to see immediate progress with this formula. Objectively, I could tell the ball was coming out of the hand better and more consistent on throwing location. It was hard to maintain 100 throws per practice because of defensively focused days, but setting that goal kept us accountable. We would supplement canceled practices or practices where we didnt get enough throwing reps with throwing sessions to make sure we hit our repetition goal. We know fully understand, these were invaluable.
I frequently asked about arm soreness or “is your arm tired?” related questions. The answer was always no. The only time we noticed a level of fatigue was towards the end of a session or practice that reached 120 plus throws. We knew from that, it was a good benchmark to work towards.
What Changed: Towards the middle of October is where we started to see a large jump in velocity. Creeping into the 40’s during most workouts, on Oct 21st we had a throw reach 46 MPH. I thought this may be an error at first but we consistently had one or two throws every practice that registered in the mid to low 40’s. We had one throw that measured 48 mph’s but I had a hard time accepting that rep as a legitimate reading. Although now looking back at the trends, people could tell the ball was coming off harder and a 45-46 mph reading was not uncommon at all. This made 48 mph more believable.